Proxima by Alice Winocour [9/10]

Proxima,” written and directed by Alice Winocour, is a straightforwardly plotted film so stunningly well executed and blessed with acting performances, that the cinematic stage effortlessly expands into a window on life and love. Eva Green deserves an Oscar for her sublime performance as Sarah, a French astronaut selected to join an international space mission, partnering with American Mike (played oh so right by Matt Dillon) and Russian Aleksey (an understated performance by Anton Ocheivsky that is like much of the film, thoroughly convincing, almost documentary style). The mission is heading to Mars and Sarah is subjected to rigorous training which is, again, fully realistic. But Sarah has a young daughter (the role amazingly powerfully nailed by ZĂ©lie Akerman Loreau) who is perceptive, emotive, and deeply centered. From the movie’s opening frames, we’re clear that the story is not about space, it addresses love and duty and ambition and all the gaps between. Moving from Cologne to Russia’s Star City, ahum with the mundanity and excitement of preparation for space, the film circles back, again and again, to mother-daughter moments and embraces and glances that break your heart. Well, “Proxima” breached my heart’s walls repeatedly, completely unexpectedly, which is code for “I wept, fellow viewers.” Even now, three days later, I can close my eyes and see the bond wrestling with the upcoming gulf – how can they stand it? This film deserves the status of quiet classic.

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